On February 28, 2018 city staff was directed by city commissioners to reconsider a $1.1 million project award due to a protest by DPB & Associates – a contractor with family ties to City Commissioner Nancy Miller and with city management staff.
Now, four months later, city staff is recommending that the city commission award the $1.1 million contract to DPB & Associates
The project was originally advertised and the bid process determined that Genesis, a local consulting firm, was deemed the top ranked firm.
After the bid ranking, a protest was submitted by DPB & Associates and the protest was reviewed and denied by the City Attorney.
At that point, city staff asked the city commission to approve the award to Genesis.
At the meeting to approve the Genesis award, City Commissioner Nancy Miller announced she would recuse herself based on the fact that “the appearance of a conflict is there because I have a relative that is affected….”
However, despite pleas from Mayor Gillum not to make any comments about the issue after announcing her recusal, Miller made a parting comment. Referring to a city staffer, Miller told City Commissioners, “He needs to tell you who he works for because the criteria did not work.”
After Miller left the meeting, a brief discussion ensued and City Commissioner Curtis Richardson, citing concerns about the bid process, made a motion to re-bid the contract. The motion passed 4-0.
And now the new bid process has resulted in a new top ranked firm – DPB & Associates
This new recommendation comes after the a November, 2017 City of Tallahassee Auditor’s investigation into contracts awarded to family members of City Commissioner Nancy Miller found the approval of those awards to DPB &Associates represented the appearance of a conflict of interest.
In addition, the audit found one of the 12 employees interviewed indicated the relationship between Buss and DPB & Associates did impact his thoughts when evaluating proposals from DPB & Associates. The audit stated that this finding “is demonstrative that the relationship can result in an unintentional bias in the selection process.”
The audit stated that “when these matters were brought to their attention, City management responded by immediately revising the City’s Purchasing Procedures to preclude any City employee from developing, recommending, or approving a procurement requisition, contract, purchase order, or pay request for any good or service from a business entity for which the employee may have a conflict of interest.”
Tallahassee Reports first broke the story about the contracts and possible conflicts in July, 2017.
This project includes improvements associated with both the Market Square Pond Improvements project and the Maclay Commerce Dr./Maclay Blvd. roadway enhancements project.